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And for the record, Smash sold really well but is not the best selling independently released album, not even close. Think of all of the bands like Pearl Jam, the Eagles, Iron Maiden etc who own their own small label and have released huge albums on them. Hell, if we are talking success as an an independent release look no further than Killing is my Business the debut album by Megadeth. Dave Mustaine left Metallica, they and Megadeth then go toe to toe with Metallica using Mustaine assisted songs for their debut Kill Em All. Kill Em All was released on Megaforce (set up by Jon Zazula of the legendary Rock N Roll Heaven store, with the assistance of Metallica) who were independent but distributed by various other companies in the world, Killing is my Business was released by Combat who were totally independent and bust.

Metallica were riding a wave, Megadeth were not even a full band (they borrowed Kerry King from Slayer) and were tainted by the sacking of Mustaine from Metallica for substance abuse. Metallica released Four Horsemen on their album (penned by Mustaine) and he deliberately sped it up and made it harder to show Metallica up as less accomplished musicians when he added it as Mechanix on his album. Megadeth were given a budget of $8,000 to record and produce the album, spent half of that on drugs, sacked the producer and produced the album themselves. The label then lost the artwork to the album and released it with a plastic skull covered in tin foil without informing the band then did little promotion.

In contrast Metallica were given $15,000 and Paul Curcio to produce and were directed on artwork by the label to not use artwork that would diminish sales. They were then sent on a European tour (Seven Dates of Hell) to promote the album and shipped 60,000 copies as a result Worldwide (but just 15,000 in the US). The album almost bankrupt Jon Zazula who was forced to press 500 copies at a time and use other labels to distribute the album. This is despite the fact that Metallica were hugely popular by the time the album was released, having toured with Motley Crue, Saxon etc and Megadeth seriously up against it, yet Killing is my Business became one of the fastest selling, independently released albums ever and Kill Em All struggled in comparison, only hitting huge sales figures when Metallica hit the big time.

So yes, Metallica had the success, the continued worldwide fame and the adoration of billions of fans but they were shown up in their own backyard by the little upstart they sacked to begin with, because not only did Dave Mustaine earn credit for his own album but he took credits and royalties from Metallica themselves as both albums were co written by him! Not only that but Megadeth instantly were signed to big label Capitol for their next album Peace Sells, whereas Metallica went unsigned and were forced to release their next album, Ride the Lightening, on Megaforce, in 1984/5 with only 75,000 initial copies in the US, despite promotion via a European and US tour. This eventually reached 500,000 copies by 1987 when the band eventually hit the big time. In contrast Peace Sells shifted over 600,000 copies for Megadeth. The rest is history, Megadeth were eclipsed by Metallica but the road to 'victory' was not so easy.

That's a proper independent release story, not some little pop punk band selling out for radio airplay three albums in.

Classic Blunkett Hound

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